25 ways to reduce the cost of college
The Center for College Affordability and Productivity has been periodically releasing bits and pieces of what will be a book-length compendium of 25 proposals to reduce the cost of college. Much of it is now available online.
I guess the title speaks for itself, and the 234-page manuscript wastes no time with introductions or executive summaries, jumping right into idea #1, Encourage More Students to Attend Community College.
For those who can't spare the time to give the full document its due, here's a much-condensed version. (I'm not necessarily agreeing with these ideas, mind you, merely endeavoring to explain them):
1. Encourage More Students to Attend Community College. Two-year colleges cost less than four-year schools.
2. Promote Dual Enrollment Programs. Students who earn college credit in high school save money in college.
3. Reform Academic Employment Policies. The gist of this item is that tenure is costly.
4. Offer Three-Year Bachelor's Degrees. Three years of college is cheaper than four.
5. Outsource More Services. Colleges lose money running their own food and lodging operations, rec centers and maintenance.
6. Reduce Administrative Staff. Administrative costs are soaring in academe.
7. Cut Unnecessary Programs. Nearly all academic programs run at a loss; colleges should weigh their costs against their benefits.
8. End the "Athletics Arms Race". The vast majority of intercollegiate athletic programs lose money and require subsidization.
9. Overhaul the FAFSA. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is criticized as needlessly complex and costly to administer.
10. Eliminate Excessive Academic Research. Faculty are under increased pressure to research and publish, at the cost of pedagogy.
11. Streamline Redundant Programs at the State Level.
12. Promote collaborative purchasing. Colleges could take advantage of purchasing cooperatives to save money.
13. Improve Facility Utilization. Colleges often use teaching spaces no more than 30 or 40 hours a week.
14. Increase Teaching Loads. The load of courses taught per faculty member has been in steady decline in recent decades.
15. Encourage Timely Degree Completion. Students who spend more time in college spend more and cost more.
16. Move More Classes Online. Online instruction is generally cheaper than brick-and-mortar classroom teaching.
17. Reduce the Cost of Textbooks. Textbook rental and online texts lower costs and increase competition.
18. Digitize Academic Libraries. Digitization could lower the rising costs of operating a library.
19. Outsource E-mail Services. Internal e-mail networks are increasingly expensive to maintain.
20. Utilize Course Management Tools. Online course management offers potential efficiencies and savings.
21. Ease the Transfer Process among Public Institutions. Impediments to transfer cost students in lost and duplicated credits.
22. Reform Financial Aid. This one is probably too big to summarize in a sentence. Apologies.
23. Reform Accreditation to Reduce Barriers to Entry. Ditto.
24. Subsidize Students, not Schools. States could steer subsidies from schools directly to students.
25. Promote Competition Based on Value, Not Reputation. The prevailing academic ranking system is based largely on factors other than bang for one's buck.
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Daniel de Vise
| December 2, 2010; 1:35 PM ET
Categories: Administration, Aid, Athletics, Community Colleges, Facilities, Finance, Pedagogy, Public policy, Rankings, Technology | Tags: 25 ways to reduce the cost of college, Center for College Affordability and Productivity, college costs, college finance, higher education costs
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